Our Ultimate Northland Travel Guide

Our Ultimate Northland Travel Guide

Northland is home to ancient Kauri forests, sparkling blue waters, and endless sandy beaches. Sounds appealing? Oh, you bet it is!

With all the experiences and adventures that await you in Northland, we’ve put together a guide to all the best things to do, places to stay and more. This way, you know what to do if you ever journey to this incredible area.

Time Zone

New Zealand Standard Time (GMT +12) 

Best Time to Go to Northland

The best time to visit Northland is during the summer months, from December to March. The weather is typically warm and sunny, ideal for exploring beautiful beaches, historic sites, and Kauri forests. It’s also a great time to spot dolphins in the Bay of Islands or visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Things to Know about Northland

Currency:  NZD (Check the current exchange rate)
Language: New Zealand English 
Calling Code: +64

How to Get Around Northland

Trains: There’s one train line in Northland, which runs between Auckland and Whangarei. The train is a scenic way to travel, but it’s not the most efficient option.

Buses: Several bus companies operate in Northland, providing services to most major towns and cities. Buses are a good option if you’re on a budget or don’t want to drive.

Ferry: Northland Ferries services the Bay of Islands, the Coromandel Peninsula, and other destinations. Ferries are a great way to see the coastline and get to some of the more remote parts of Northland.

Car Rentals: By car is the most popular way to get around Northland, as it gives you the most flexibility and allows you to explore at your own pace. Northland Rentals and Blue Star Car Rentals are good companies in the area.

Where to Stay in Northland

Moon Gate Villa 

Address: 462 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0293, New Zealand
Phone: +6499295921
Pricing: $$
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Moon Gate Villa is a boutique bed and breakfast inspired by and built in the shape of Cupid’s bow. Elegant, sub-tropical gardens surround the villa—which has three beautifully unique suites fit for royalty. 

The villa is close to local restaurants, wineries, galleries, and shops and the perfect base for day trips to Cape Reinga and Far North beaches.

Carrington Estate

Address: 109 Matai Bay Road, Karikari Peninsula 0483, New Zealand
Phone: +6494087222
Pricing: $$
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Carrington Estate is a beautiful resort on the Karikari Peninsula. It’s a great place to stay for a relaxing vacation or a romantic getaway.

The estate has various accommodation options, including lodge rooms, villas, and luxury houses. It’s spacious, and you won’t get enough of the views of its golf course, vineyards, and the Pacific Ocean.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel 

Address: 35 The Strand, Russell 0202, New Zealand
Phone: +6494037829
Pricing: $
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The Duke of Marlborough Hotel is a historic hotel that has been welcoming guests since 1827. The hotel is on the waterfront, so you’ll have stunning views of the Bay of Islands. 

All rooms have en suite bathrooms, Sky TV, WiFi, and any amenity you’ll need.

Eagles Nest 

Address: 60 Tapeka Road, Russell 0242, New Zealand
Phone: +6494038333
Pricing: $$$
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Eagles Nest is an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Spend your days swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the beautiful coastline, then retreat to stunning lodgings to cap off the day! 

This place is a luxurious hotel and retreat set on a 75-acre estate with stunning bay views. The hotel has five villas, each with its own private pool, jacuzzi, and kitchen.

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs 

Address: 139 Tepene Tablelands Road, Matauri Bay 0245, New Zealand
Phone: +6494070010
Pricing: $$$
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The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of Northland. All accommodations here are spacious and luxurious, with private balconies or patios. 

There’s also a championship golf course, three private beaches, a spa, a fitness centre, and various dining options. 

Wharepuke Subtropical Accommodation 

Address: 190 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0230, New Zealand
Phone: +6494078933
Pricing: $
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Wharepuke Subtropical Accommodation is surrounded by 2 hectares of award-winning subtropical gardens. A stay here means having your own cottage with WiFi and a private balcony with garden views. 

They also have an on-site restaurant, an art gallery, and a sculpture park.

Where to Eat in Northland

Karikari Estate Winery 

Address: 104 Matai Bay Road, Kaitaia, Karikari Peninsula 0483, New Zealand
Pricing: $$

Karikari Estate Winery is not just a winery but also a fantastic place to grab a bite. There’s something for everyone here. 

If coming here with a group, get their BBQ meat or seafood platter. Sharing a pizza is just as good as a choice, though!

And, of course, pair your meal with one of their award-winning wines for the ultimate dining experience.

Bennetts of Mangawhai 

Address: 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai 0505, New Zealand
Pricing: $

This charming cafe is known for its fresh pastries, sweets, and a menu that changes with the seasons, featuring the best local produce. If you’re in the mood for something unique, try the Teriyaki Tofu dish, which is both gluten-free and vegan. 

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with anything from their bakery. They’re particularly well-known for their cookies and muffins—all gluten-free!

Marina Woodfired Dining 

Address: 1 Marina Road, Tutukaka, Whangarei 0173, New Zealand
Phone: +6499299280
Pricing: $$

Overlooking the beautiful Tutukaka Marina, this restaurant is a haven for pizza lovers and those who appreciate a relaxed, waterfront dining experience. 

One of their standout offerings is the hand-made Napoli-style Margherita pizza. If you’re looking for something different, though, give their fresh linguine a go.

Marsden Estate 

Address: 56 Wiroa Road, Kerikeri 0293, New Zealand
Phone: +6494079398
Pricing: $$

Marsden Estate is a paradise for food and wine lovers alike. Their Fiordland venison tenderloin is a must-try dish, perfectly paired with one of their estate-grown wines. Each bite takes you on a journey through Northland’s rich, diverse flavours.

Their crème brulee is an absolute treat if you’re after something sweet. And let’s not forget about their Affogato, a classic Italian ice cream dessert featuring a shot of espresso – or liqueur if you want to be extra.

Plough and Feather 

Address: 215 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0230, New Zealand
Phone: +6494078479
Pricing: $$

Plough and Feather is a Northland English-style Gastro Pub with hearty dishes, beers, ales and more. Their pan-fried snapper and Angus’s eye fillet are popular choices, but you can’t go wrong with their southern fried chicken or octopus, either with beer on tap. 

Their desserts are on another level, though—try their rose rabbit liqueurs or their baked Belgian chocolate pot.

Charlotte’s Kitchen 

Address: 69 Marsden Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand
Phone: +6494028296
Pricing: $$

Charlotte’s Kitchen has stunning views of the Paihia Harbour and a fusion of seafood dishes, pizza, and more. 

If you’re a fan of pork, their famous Pork Knuckle is an absolute must-try. It’s crispy on the outside, tender and juicy inside—a feast for the eyes and the stomach!

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, their house-made Ravioli is a great choice. Filled with roasted pumpkin, spinach, and Cleveland buffalo feta, it’s a symphony of flavours that will leave you wanting more.

What to Do in Northland

Take a guided tour through the Waitangi Treaty Grounds 

Address: Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi 0293, New Zealand
Phone: +6494027437

A tour through the Waitangi Treaty Grounds should be at the top of your to-do list when in Northland. It’s a simple wooden building, but its importance to the country’s history is monumental. 

Pay attention as your guide shares fascinating details about the treaty’s signing, making the event come alive in your mind.

Explore the offshore Poor Knights Islands 


Go on an adventure to the Poor Knights Islands! These islands are a real-life treasure chest full of natural wonders. 

The islands are home to one of the world’s top marine reserves. Snorkelling or scuba diving here is like entering an underwater paradise. 

You’ll swim alongside schools of colourful fish, glide over vibrant coral reefs, and maybe even spot a playful dolphin or two!

Trek through the Waipoua Forest with Footprints Waipoua 

Address: 41 Hokianga Harbour Drive, Opononi 0473, New Zealand
Phone: +6494058207

Step into the ancient world of the Waipoua Forest with Footprints Waipoua. This forest is home to some of the world’s largest and oldest Kauri trees, and walking among them feels like stepping back in time. 

The highlight of the tour is meeting the largest living Kauri tree in the world—Tane Mahuta—it’s been growing for over 2,000 years!

Take a day trip to Urupukapuka Island 


Hop on a ferry and spend a day on beautiful Urupukapuka Island. It’s the largest island in the Bay of Islands and is a little slice of paradise that will captivate both kids and adults. 

As the ferry pulls into Otehei Bay, you’ll be greeted by a picture-perfect beach with golden sand and crystal-clear water. But don’t just stick to the beach! 

Urupukapuka Island has many walking trails that take you through lush greenery and offer stunning views of the surrounding bay. And we can’t forget the adorable sheep you’ll undoubtedly come across!

Kayak your way to Haruru Falls 


Hop into a kayak and start paddling along the Waitangi River. As you paddle, look around and you’ll see lush greenery, local wildlife, and maybe even a jumping fish or two!

After a while, you’ll hear it before you see it – the distinctive roar of Haruru Falls.

Sail the skies with Bay of Islands Parasail 

Address: Paihia Wharf, Paihia, 0247, New Zealand
Phone: +6494026068

Take to the skies with Bay of Islands Parasail. You’ll feel a rush of exhilaration as you’re gently hoisted from the boat’s back deck. Up in the air, you’ll be treated to a bird’s eye view of over 144 beautiful islands. 

Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before, you’ll be guided through all the safety steps. Even kids can join, making this an exciting activity for the whole family. 

Indulge in thermal bathing at Ngawha Springs 

Address: 303 Ngawha Springs Road Ngawha, Kaikohe 0473, New Zealand
Phone: +6494052245

This geothermal hot pool complex is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The moment you dip your toes into one of the 16 mineral baths, you’ll feel your stress start to melt away. 

Each bath has its own special blend of minerals and temperatures, so you can pick the one that suits you best.

Admire the falls at Piroa Falls 


Piroa Falls is a hidden treasure tucked away in the Waipu Gorge Scenic Reserve. There’s a bit of a trek to get to the falls, but even the youngest adventurers can do it. 

As you round the final corner, you’ll be greeted by the spectacular sight of Piroa Falls.  And the best part? You can even take a dip in the pool at the base of the falls. 

Take a drive across Cape Reinga


Buckle up and set off on a journey across Cape Reinga. It’s a drive that promises stunning views, rich history, and a deeper connection with nature. 

As you drive along the winding roads, take in the breathtaking views of rolling hills, vast sand dunes, and sparkling seas. Every twist and turn is a new photo opportunity, so keep your camera ready

Go sand boarding down the Te Paki Sand Dunes 

Address: 47 Te Paki Stream Road, Cape Reinga 0484, New Zealand

Just a short detour from the main road to Cape Reinga, these dunes rise from the earth like golden mountains. They’re so big that you might feel like a tiny ant standing at their base. 

But don’t be intimidated—climbing to the top is part of the fun! With your sandboard firmly under you, take a deep breath and slide down the slope. 

It’s an exhilarating rush that will have you running back up the dune for another go!

Where to Shop in Northland

The Cabbage Tree 

Address: 1 Williams Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand
Phone: +6494027318

The Cabbage Tree is a haven for those who appreciate quality and craftsmanship. Every item on the shelves has been thoughtfully selected, showcasing the best of New Zealand-made gifts and souvenirs. 

From beautiful pottery and jewellery to soft Merino wool blankets, there’s something for everyone.

Flying Fish Design Store 

Address: 27 Williams Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand
Phone: +6494027755

The Flying Fish Design Store is a treasure trove of Kiwi creativity. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by an array of beautiful items that reflect the spirit and culture of New Zealand. 

Every piece tells a story, from stunning pottery and delicate jewellery to quirky toys and stylish home decor. Children will be captivated by the colourful toys and games, while adults will appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship of the art pieces and handcrafted goods. 

The Old Packhouse Market 

Address: 505 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri 0293, New Zealand
Phone: +64272339399

A trip to Northland isn’t complete without a visit to The Old Packhouse Market. It’s like stepping into a bustling, vibrant village where you can shop, eat, and have fun! 

This charming market is open every Saturday. Rows and rows of stalls/tents filled with goodies, from fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade jams and pastries. 

Kids will love the sweet treats and toys, while adults might find themselves drawn to the handcrafted jewellery and unique home decor items.

Which Places to Visit in Northland



Opua is nestled by the sea, like a picture-perfect postcard that comes to life. 

The first thing you’ll notice about Opua is its stunning marina. It’s filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, bobbing gently on the shimmering water. You might even spot a playful dolphin or two if you’re lucky!



Kohukohu is a charming little village brimming with history and character. It’s a place that invites you to slow down and soak up the serene atmosphere. 

As you stroll through Kohukohu, you’ll be captivated by its historic wooden buildings, which hark back to its days as a bustling timber town. Each building has a story to tell, and you can almost feel the echoes of the past as you walk by. 

And if you’re into art, don’t miss the local galleries where you can admire work from talented local artists.



Ahipara will capture your heart with its natural beauty and relaxed vibe. When you first see the vast expanse of golden sand and sparkling blue sea, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard. 

For those seeking adventure, Ahipara offers some of the best surfing in the region. You can ride the waves or, if you’re feeling brave, try sandboarding down the giant dunes!



Pataua is a little slice of paradise in Northland and has an absolutely stunning beach. A footbridge spans the estuary for adventure seekers, offering a fun and slightly wobbly walk with great views. 

And if you’re up for a bit of a hike, the nearby Mt Pataua has a walking trail that leads to a breathtaking panoramic view of the area.



Kerikeri is a vibrant town bursting with history and charm. It’s a place where you can stroll through lush orchards, explore historical sites, and enjoy the local arts scene. 

One of the must-visit spots in Kerikeri is the Stone Store and Kemp House. These are some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand, offering a glimpse into the country’s early European settlement period. 

Just a short walk from the Stone Store is the Rainbow Falls, a stunning waterfall that cascades into a tranquil pool. It’s a great spot for a picnic or a refreshing dip on a hot day. 



Waipu is the kind of place where you can feel the sand beneath your feet, explore unique heritage, and be part of a warm, welcoming community. Check out Waipu Cove, a beautiful beach with golden sands and clear waters. 

Or, if you’re interested in history, make sure to visit the Waipu Museum. Here, you can learn about the fascinating journey of Scottish migrants who settled in the area in the 19th century. 

For the adventurers, there’s the Waipu Caves, a network of limestone caves you can explore.

What to Expect from Northland Weather

Spring (September to November): Spring is mild and comfortable, with temperatures usually ranging from 15-20°C. Northland becomes vibrant with blooming flowers and greenery during this time.

Summer (December to February): Northland experiences warm summers with temperatures typically between 22-26°C. It’s a great time to explore the beautiful beaches, but do remember to stay sun-safe as the UV levels can be high.

Fall/Autumn (March to May): Autumn temperatures range from 18-23°C, with gradually shorter days. It’s a quieter season for tourism, making it a good time to enjoy the natural beauty of Northland without the summer crowds.

Winter (June to August): Winters are relatively mild, with temperatures averaging between 12-16°C. Expect plenty of rain! 

Apps to Download for a Trip to Northland

Google Translate: Word translation with offline capabilities
iOs | Android

Google Maps: Navigation GPS app with offline capabilities
iOs | Android

MetService: An app that provides accurate and up-to-date weather forecasts
iOs | Android

CamperMate: If you’re planning a camper van trip, this app provides information on camping sites, facilities, and nearby attractions 
iOs | Android